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Construction Young Masculinity: A Case of Heroic Discourse of Violence
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2008 (English)In: Discourse & Society, ISSN 0957-9265, E-ISSN 1460-3624, Vol. 19, no 2, 139-161 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, a young man's narratives of violence are analysed, and a culturally shared storyline is identified as the basis of these narratives. It is argued that the stories are organized so as to construct a preferred self-presentation. One strategy to achieve this is to establish boundaries for what type of violence to use, whom to fight, where and for what reasons. I also argue that the narratives are structured to avoid being categorized as either victim or perpetrator, although both categories are drawn upon. Issues of masculinity are made relevant through categorization of the characters in the narrative, and positions are made available. Different masculine categories such as the hero/villain/non-man become relevant in the analysis. Different gendered positions are used in negotiating a masculine identity around narratives of and through telling about violence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London, UK: Sage Publications, 2008. Vol. 19, no 2, 139-161 p.
Keyword [en]
Discourses of masculinity, hero, morality-in-practice, narrative identity, preferred self-presentation, storyline, victim/perpetrator, violence
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-12593DOI: 10.1177/0957926507085949ISI: 000255167100001OAI: diva2:1792
Available from: 2008-09-17 Created: 2008-09-17 Last updated: 2014-01-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Talking Violence, Constructing Identity: Young Men in Institutional Care
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Talking Violence, Constructing Identity: Young Men in Institutional Care
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Att prata om våld och skapa identitet : Unga män i institutionsvård
Abstract [en]

The aim of the study is to investigate how young men constructing identities in talk about their own use of violence. The study is based on a fieldwork at a youth detention home in Sweden. The data consists of individual interviews and video recordings of the treatment programme Aggression Replacement Training (ART). Detailed analyses have been made of conversations between the young men, between the young men and the trainers, and of the narratives generated in the individual interviews. The study has a social constructionist approach to identity, which is seen as constructed in a joint achievement in social interaction. An important analytical perspective in the study is how social categories and subcategories are constructed. The study has a particular focus on gender, primarily masculinity, but age and ethnicity are also being emphasised.

The analysis draws on four empirical studies. It is shown how the young men construct a preferred self-presentation when talking about violent events. The narratives on violence are either based on experiences or talked about as a hypothetical use of violence. Violence based on personal experience is problematized and legitimized in terms of self-defence, defending friends, restraint and justified violence. Narratives of violence are shown to be interactional resources available to the young men. When talking about violence, the young men can be seen to regulate social relations, and to position themselves in relation to particular discourses of masculinity. The specific understanding of what it entails to be a man enables the use of violence with respect to social categorizations such as age, ethnicity or criminal identity. It is also argued that the treatment programme ART may, at times, facilitate maintaining a criminal identity.

Abstract [sv]

Avhandlingens övergripande syfte är att undersöka hur unga män konstruerar identiteter kring berättelser om eget våldsutövande. Den bygger på en studie gjord vid ett särskilt ungdomshem i Sverige. Såväl enskilda intervjuer som videoinspelningar av behandlingsprogrammet Aggression Replacement Training (ART) har utgjort analysmaterialet. Ingående analyser har gjorts av samtalen mellan de unga männen, mellan de unga männen och behandlingspersonalen, och berättelserna i de enskilda intervjuerna. Avhandlingen bygger på en socialkonstruktionistisk ansats där identitet analyseras i social interaktion med andra. Ett viktigt analytiskt perspektiv i studien är hur sociala kategorier och underkategorier skapas. Ett särskilt fokus ligger på genus och då främst maskulinitet, men även ålder och etnicitet lyfts fram som viktiga perspektiv.

Avhandlingen omfattar fyra delstudier. Studien visar hur de unga männen konstruerar en positiv självpresentation när de talar om våldshändelser. Våldsberättelserna är antingen erfarenhetsbaserade eller utgår ifrån tal om hypotetiskt våld. Det erfarenhetsbaserade våldet problematiseras och legitimeras genom att talas om som självförsvar, försvar av kompisar, återhållsamt eller rättmätigt. Studien visar att våldsberättelser är interaktionella resurser för de unga männen. Genom att tala om våld reglerar de sociala relationer och positionerar sig i relation till vissa maskulinitetsdiskurser. Den specifika förståelsen av vad det innebär att vara en man, möjliggör användandet av våld avhängigt andra sociala kategorier, så som ålder, etnicitet och kriminell identitet. Studien indikerar också att behandlingsprogrammet ART ger möjlighet att underlätta upprätthållandet av en kriminell identitet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2008. 53 + studies 1-4 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 444
Violence, identity, Aggression Replacement Training (ART), discourses, masculinity, social categories, positioning, interview, participant observation, Våld, identitet, berättelser, Aggression Replacement Training (ART), diskurser, maskulinitet, sociala kategorier, positionering, intervju, deltagande observation
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-12581 (URN)978-91-7393-826-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-09-19, Key 1, Hus Key, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)

Due to copyright matters, have the articles, published in chapter 4, 5, 6 and 7, been removed.

Available from: 2008-09-16 Created: 2008-09-16 Last updated: 2014-09-17Bibliographically approved

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